The sheer carnivorous threat posed by even a single troll makes them the enemy of every living thing on Aestrona. Their unbelievable regeneration is always at work, repairing even the effects of aging on the creature, making them nigh immortal and ceaselessly ravenous. One troll can wreck an entire ecosystem with its constant gorging.
Trolls are perfectly capable of bipedal movement and generally prefer it when not hunting due to the advantage of their great height. When they are tracking prey, however, a troll always moves on all fours for greater stealth and speed. Trolls could be described as (monstrously) humanoid in the vaguest of senses, possessing in common two legs, two arms, a semi-upright posture, and a head with two ears, two eyes, a nose and a mouth. As a troll ages and cycles through its tumor-reproduction stage, it sometimes grows tumors which do not detach and instead become additional parts of its body. Old trolls sometimes have multiple limbs, heads, mouths, or other physical features. Strangest of a troll's characteristics is the extremely rare tendency to begin to grow Elannish features at advanced ages. While this usually presents as a nightmarish creature with familiar humanoid parts mashed in between massive groping hands and gnashing mouths, the advancing intelligence of such a troll sometimes results in a truly malevolent transformation. As a troll develops more complex thoughts, its appetite tends to undergo a shift in priority. No longer is it satisfied with merely eating whatever is at hand. Though its physical hunger does not abate in the slightest, it develops a lust for terror and suffering that moves it to hunt Elanni and gives it the patience to eat them slowly, rather than all at once. As dangerous and repulsive as such a troll is, this pales in comparison to the lengths the most intelligent trolls will go to cause and savor carnage in mind and body. Recognizing the potential of its Elannish growths as disguise, a hyper intelligent troll can undertake the painstaking process of tearing away the monstrous portions of its flesh, allowing only those Elannish features it wishes to retain to remain. Over a long period of time it can shape its body into a very convincing Elanni simulacrum. Given that the troll's increased intelligence comes from its growing brain mass, this also involves carefully scooping out old, uncomplex brain matter and restricting its regeneration. Though there have only been two confirmed cases of trolls successfully completing such a complicated and time intensive task, both of those trolls were responsible for major wars in the countries they haunted. Their motivation for causing these conflicts was simple: in the aftermath of battles, while men groaned in agony around them, the trolls dined on both misery and flesh in equal amounts. Though the appearance of such trolls is almost entirely indistinguishable from the race they are impersonating, a few telltale signs may give them away: rapidly growing hair or nails, the presence of strange smelling bandages (acids to prevent torn parts from regrowing), highly unusual strength or constitution (such as being able to drink any amount of alcohol without effect), and a vicious, covetous hunger ever in their eyes.
Genetics and Reproduction
Thankfully, trolls are generally solitary. Not above cannibalism, a troll usually avoids other trolls until it is time to reproduce. It doesn't need other trolls for this, as they reproduce asexually, but band together for protection for both themselves and their young clones. Every few years a troll begins to develop tumors on its body which will eventually fall off and become new trolls. As these tumors grow to prodigious size, the host troll loses more and more of its usual mobility. When it becomes difficult to hunt it will seek out other trolls for protection while the process completes. Most of the time such groups consist of only a few adult trolls and perhaps one or two dozen young. Larger clottings have been observed consisting of several dozen adults and hundreds of young, but these often end in cannibalistic feeding frenzies that reduce, rather than increase, the troll population. Due to the great impediment to movement posed by the cloning tumors, the best time to slay a troll is after it has begun looking for others of its kind and before it has found such a group. This strategy has its own risks, though. Without a vast amount of fire the slayers face a threat from the tumors themselves, which may defensively detach early, sprouting proto-limbs and scuttling quickly to the nearest warm-blooded creature, there to attach themselves and continue growing. Once so attached, the victim has only hours before the removal of the tumor becomes impossible without the death of the host. A quick and merciful death should be sought as soon as possible, for the alternative is an excruciating and horrifying transformation as the tumor consumes most of the host body before pulling itself off and eating the shrieking remains.
Growth Rate & Stages
A troll begins its life as a useless, disgusting tumor on the body of another troll. Eventually this tumor falls off, sprouts limbs and a mouth(s), and begins seeking food. It takes very little time before the formerly unrecognizable blob resembles a miniature troll. From here, the creature simply eats and grows. Tumor gestation times are variable, depending on the diet of the host troll. Once detached, most young trolls develop all their characteristic features within a fortnight. At this point they are essentially adult, causing them to race through infancy, childhood, and adolescence faster than any other large predator species. Trolls never actually cease growing and have no known natural causes of death. Their regeneration does not preclude injury or disease, but repairs even the most devastating wounds and virulent of sicknesses. Once a troll outgrows its ability to procure food it enters a cycle of gluttony and starvation, ravenously devouring everything of even the slightest nutritional value for miles around and then going hungry as it searches for a new hunting ground. While starving, a troll self cannibalizes, resulting in a functional cessation in growth. This usually occurs once a specimen has exceeded 10 feet in height. If for some reason a troll can continue to procure food at a rate necessary to sustain its cancerous growth, it will continue to increase in size indefinitely.
Ecology and Habitats
Trolls can live literally anywhere food can be found. No environment is too hostile if there is adequate sustenance to repair any ill effect of living there.
Dietary Needs and Habits
Trolls have no natural predators and in fact cannot be eaten by anything; their flesh is riddled with strange, lethal diseases that will swiftly kill any living thing that ingests it. They will eat anything organic and will even attempt to eat inorganic materials when starving. Needing no sleep, they kill and eat constantly, utterly disrupting any ecosystem they are present in.
Trolls grow but do not age and are utterly insensitive to environmental changes. The only identifiable cycles in their lifespan is that of gluttony, starvation, and self-cannibalization which occurs as they devastate their local ecosystem, and their asexual method of reproduction that occurs every few years, depending on nutritional availability.
While trolls cannot be domesticated by normal means, orks find them to be delightfully useful parts and have developed ways to leverage their unique qualities. Troll-infused necrotecture requires enormous amounts of food to maintain, but in return is nearly indestructible due to the troll's regeneration. Trolls are also favored as walls, called Tralls (troll-wall). Creating a Trall requires capturing and restraining a troll and building a shaped pen around its body. The troll is then fed and allowed to grow while the pen is shaped into a mold of a wall around the area to be protected. With enough patience, the area is eventually surrounded by a living wall. The orks cut off the head and arms of the troll and reattach them in other places as the original severed appendages regrow. Eventually the entire wall is a groping, gnawing mass of flesh that never sleeps and is always hungry. Completely impenetrable except by fire and acid (which orkish firequenchers are quick to extinguish) and unthinkable to climb, a Trall is an expensive but monstrously effective barricade. Some trolls have even been known to submit to this arrangement voluntarily, as it ensures a lifetime of easy gluttony.
Trolls begin life incapable of speech and complex thought. As it grows larger, a troll's brain also grows and becomes more complex. An average adult troll has a limited understanding of any common tongues it has encountered and can communicate simple ideas. Such a troll still lacks the sophistication for any form of negotiation to be effective. Older, larger trolls may develop vocabularies that are quite broad and show a truly dangerous level of cunning intelligence. While these trolls can be negotiated with, it's best to betray them as soon as possible since they are always, without exception, planning a betrayal of their own.
Remove these ads. Join the Worldbuilders Guild